Chapter 29

            “We need to move, we can’t stay here.” I say, “Get Theodore up.”  Without hesitation Velvet moves, soon we are ready to move, it is unfortunate we have to move so soon, but until we know the true nature of the individual we have to move to a secure location.

            “We are ready to move.” Fiona says.

            “Ok, we can head through the city.” I say, “We might have to start back up through the mountains sooner than thought.”  Heading back into the city everyone is on alert, this time we are not just on the lookout for wolves, but men, potentially dangerous men.  After several hours we have made our way quite deep into the city, “Ok, we can take a break here.” 

            “You know I was thinking, He ran when he say us.” Fiona says, “He might be a scout.”

            “What are you saying that there are more of them?” I ask.

            “We have to consider that a possibility.” Fiona says.

            “You don’t think they could be some of the original inhabitants of Denver do you.” Velvet says.

            “That would mean they were rebels.” I say, “You think they could be on our side?”

            “Maybe, it is worth the risk trying to find them.” Fiona says.

            “Well that is why we came out here.” Theodore says.

            “He has got a point.” Velvet says, “We should at least look into it.”

            “Ok, we will spend a few days looking for any signs of them.” I say, “We can’t spend any more time than that.”  Everyone seems to agree with that plan, perhaps if we can find these people they can shed some light on Denver, maybe they know of the others beyond the mountains.  It would be a real stroke of luck if our journey ended here.  We walk for several more hours before finally stopping in a small brick building somewhere with in Denver.  Tonight we will have guards.  Before long a fire is raging, “I will take first watch.”

            “No, Velvet and I will.” Fiona says.  Apparently she hasn’t forgotten about this morning, in all the rush and excitement I have let the whole thing slip my mind.  As Fiona and Velvet slip into the darkness my attention moves to the warmth of the fire.  Slowly my eyes begin to gain weight, as I slip off into sleep I wonder what tomorrow will bring, will it bring hope, or despair.  There is only one way to know, close my eyes and find out.

            Cara stands before an endless ocean, the water blue like her eyes.  There is no more blood, she stands staring off into the water.  As I move towards her she turns to me and smiles.  Cara, this can’t be here she is dead, isn’t she.  I stop, I want to continue but I can’t not because something is stopping me, but because I find myself unwilling.  Cara died for me, she died to save Fiona.  Dyami’s hand feels weightless as it falls upon my shoulder.  Why they here, these people are dead.  Have they come to seek there vengeance for what I did, they died for me.  Why, what did I do for them, I promised them I would lead, but there was nothing I could do to save them.  I watch as Cara wades from the water and place her hand on my other shoulder; slowly they guide me towards the water.  We stand silently as the sun rises, right before it reaches its peak they both turn to me and smile.

            The morning sun rouses me back to this world.  I must have slept through the entire night, I didn’t think I was that tired, I also kind of figured that Fiona or Velvet would have woken me, oh crap, I hope they didn’t kill each other.  Rising from my sleeping bag I find Fiona and Velvet sitting around the fire, they are laughing, which must be a good sign, “Morning sleepy head, figured we would let you sleep late.” Fiona says.

            “Thanks, from the looks of it last night I thought you two were going to kill each other.” I say.  Pulling myself from the bag I shuffle over to the fire and plop down next to Fiona, “So I guess you managed to work things out.”

            “There really wasn’t much to work out.” Fiona says, “Just had to go over some things.”

            “What exactly did you talk about?” I ask.

            “Well that will just have to remain between us two girls.” Velvet says.  Theodore meanders over tossing everyone some Pre-Rats.

“Appears we left the meat behind when we left.” Theodore says, “Unless anyone wants to go back for it.”

“Well so much for wolf steaks.” Velvet says.

“So does anyone have ideas on how to find these people?” I ask.

“I do.” Theodore says, “We set a trap, well sort of.”  Everyone tilts their heads towards the old man; we all sit quietly like children listen to a story, “We wait for them, right smack in the middle of the city.  Chances are they have been watching us, probably how they found us the first time.”

“How can you be sure, they might have just stumbled upon us?” I ask.

“We can’t but it is the best chance we have in a city this size.” Theodore says.

“Ok, we go for it.” I say, “So what is the plan exactly.” 

“Well it is as it sounds, we wait for them to find us.  You said I was still asleep when he spotted you.” Theodore says.

“Yeah, you thinking he might not know you are with us.” Fiona says, “I think it is worth a shot.”

“Exactly, while I remain out of sight, we should probably find a tall building.” Theodore says, “One that gives me a clear view from all angles.”

“Ok, let’s get packed up.” I say, “We have to be ready to go if this goes bad.”  Heading back into the city Theodore quickly finds a building he likes, taking our place down on the ground level we watch as Theodore heads into the building and out of sight, he has our backs now.  All we can do is hope everything falls into place and we don’t end up full of holes.

            “I hope they hurry up, it is freezing out here.” Velvet says.

            “It’s not that bad.” Fiona says, “It could be a lot worse.”

            “Oh really and what could possibly be worse than standing in the freezing cold?” Velvet asks.

            “Hey be quite, I think I see something.” I say, my eyes straining to focus against the snow.  He is there, crouched behind several abandoned cars tucked away between two buildings, almost impossible to make out, “I don’t think he knows that we saw him, keep talking like nothing is up.”  I can only hope that Theodore sees him, there has to be a way to get a signal.  Quickly turning my head I glance up at Theodore’s position than back in the direction of the hidden man, slowly I point in his direction, doing everything I can to make it look as I am simply stretching.  Once again my eyes quickly glance towards the man, he is still there.  Even if Theodore has spotted him, he probably won’t attack unless threatened, “Ok, you two stay here, I have to go to the bathroom.” Passing Fiona I give her a wink, my true intention is to sneak up on the individual.  Perhaps if we can capture him, we can get a word in.

            As I make my way around the building behind him I am extra careful not to make any noise, at this point I am only about twenty feet away.  He is dressed in the fur of several animals, several knives can been seen stuck into his boots.  Long blonde hair drapes down his face and neck, a strip of fur covers the mouth and nose.  With each step closer my heart pounds louder, when I get within a few feet I swear Fiona and Velvet can hear my heart down the block.  This is it now or never, I lunge forward as the man turns to face me, adjusting his weight he sends me against the wall, but he is off guard.  Once again I strike, this time I am able to pin them against the wall, they are light so it doesn’t take much effort, “Stop struggling, I just want to talk.” I say.  With a quick kick to my knee I collapse forward slightly, before I can react my arm is twisted and the person has face first against the wall, once again I am able to overpower them.  Pushing back with all of my strength I slam them into the wall opposite me, before they can recover I flip them over my shoulder slamming them onto the snowy ground.  The fur around the face having been torn during the fight, I notice the soft features of a young girl at my feet, her grey eyes and sunken features staring back at me, it’s a girl.  Probably a year or two younger than me, we stare a moment, then my eyes begin to burn as if on fire, I scream as she uses  the moment of pain and blindness to escape.  Several moments later I can feel Fiona’s hands on my back as I kneel there, my eyes burning. 

            “Don’t rub your eyes, it’s just pepper spray.” Fiona says.

            “I can’t see.” I scream.

            “Velvet gives me some water.” Fiona says.  Washing the liquid from my eyes the burning starts to subside, but the after effects are clear, my eyes are swollen and red, my vision blurry. 

            “What happened?” Velvet asks.

            “We I had her.” I say, “Well that is until she sprayed me with that stuff.”

            “Her, it was a girl.” Velvet says, “You got beat up by a girl that seems to happen to you quite often.” Velvet looks towards Fiona with a smile.

            “Look we can follow her tracks.” Fiona says, “Velvet can you go get Theodore, we will sit here till you get back.”  After several minutes and several more washes my eyes start to feel better, I know they will be red and swollen for hours though.

            “You think we can track her?” I ask.

            “I don’t know, but it is worth a shot.” Fiona says. 

            Without hesitation we take off after the girl, her tracks in the snow still fresh.  We follow them for about an hour when we finally lose sight.  She must have climbed up onto a building at some point, where ever she went there is no sign of her, “Damn it.” I say.

            “What do we do now?” Velvet asks.

            “Maybe we should give up, move on.” Theodore says.

            “No, she isn’t a threat; otherwise she would have killed Riley when she had the chance.” Fiona says.

            ‘I agree, we should find her, she could be useful.” I say, “We set up camp and resume again tomorrow.”  Heading into the safety and warmth of a nearby building we positing the fire near the window allowing the smoke to billow out, we are also hoping the girl will return, being she has sought us out twice already.  Thinking back to this afternoon, perhaps it was not the best option to attack her; maybe a simple hello would have worked out infinitely better.

            “Riley, since this girl doesn’t seem to be a threat, I was thinking maybe Theodore and I could head out to search for some food.” Velvet says.

            “That is probably not a bad idea.” I say, “Try not to stay out to late.” 

            “Ok, be back soon, hope you are hungry.” Velvet says all the confidence in the world.  As they disappear into the darkness I take a seat by the fire, Fiona sits quietly warming her hands.  The fire light dances gently against her skin, her strawberry blonde hair seems to glow in the light, Fiona is truly beautiful, her green eyes matching my perfectly in this light, just as the girl’s all a perfect shade of green.

            “So tell me, what did you and Velvet talk about last night?” I ask.

            “You really want to know don’t you?” Fiona says.

            “Well, you did look like you wanted to kill her.” I say.

            “Let’s just say that she is happy for us.” Fiona says taking my hand, “Other than that you don’t need to know.”  The door creaks open slowly, “Back already.”  Standing in the doorway is the girl from this afternoon.  No one moves we sit in silence for several minutes.  Finally the girl begins to slowly move backwards towards the door.

            “Wait, its ok we are not here to hurt you.” I say.

            “Funny, didn’t look like that this afternoon.” She says.

            “He gets a little over zealous some times.” Fiona says, “He means well though.”

            “Where are you from?” She asks.

            “I’m from Eden, he is from Haven.” Fiona says.

            “Eden, your Brotherhood.” She says.

            “No, they are our enemies; we are searching for allies to fight against them.” I say.  There is a look of bewilderment and hopefulness upon her face, “What is your name?”

            “Sabrina.” She says quietly.

            “I am Fiona, and this is.” Fiona say, Velvet ant Theodore can be heard approaching, we only turn our attention to their approach briefly.  By the time we turn back Sabrina is gone.  Velvet enters several small creatures dangle from her hands.

            “There is going to be a feast tonight.” Velvet says confusion upon her face as our eyes meet, “what happened you guys look like you say a ghost.”

            “She was here, she ran when you approached.” Fiona says.

            “What are you talking about, who was here?” Velvet asks, “The girl.”  Fiona and I both nod our heads, “Did she say anything?”

            “Yeah, her name is Sabrina.” I say, “Well we might as well get dinner cooked; there isn’t anything we can do about it tonight.”  However, I wish there was, who this girl is, she knew of the Brotherhood, she seemed glad to hear we were against them.  Does she know of others, she has to, there is no way she could have survived out here on her own, could she.  Either way we need to talk to her again, but I there is no point in trying to find her.  Our best bet is to sit tight and wait for her to come to us once again.

            Dinner is great, there is nothing like the taste of fresh meat, especially after days of Pre-Rats.  Theodore tells us the meat is called Rabbit, a small rodent.  I don’t care too much about what it is, just that we can eat it.  Soon we are stuffed; it is a wonderful feeling being full, something I have spent most of my life never knowing.  I am truly thankful for Velvet and Theodore; their skills have kept us alive.  Without them I would have been doomed to Pre-Rats this entire trip.  It seems years ago when I last felt the true feeling of starvation, when my stomach was so empty I could feel it rumble.  I drift off into myself, does Sabrina know the feeling of being full, or like me has she spent most of her life trying to survive day by day.  It is strange, but I already feel this connection to her, as if we share a common history.

            After Diner I place my back against the wall, Fiona slides over resting her head upon my chest.  This is how we sleep now, using each other’s warmth to bring comfort, Velvet does not comment, but simply smiles in our direction before finding a spot opposite from us.  Soon we both drift off form this reality our last memory before the mornings rays are the crackle of the fire.  As the morning light shines against upon my face there is something strange about it, it is almost too bright.  My eyes open to the bright reflective light of glass.  Sabrina stands blinding me with its rays, “I could have killed you if I wanted.” Sabrina says.

            “I know, but you don’t want to hurt us.” I say, “Just like we don’t want to hurt you.”

            “How can you be so sure of that?” Sabrina asks.

            “Cause, you would have killed us already, you have had several chances to do so.” I say, “Same for us.” I notion with my head behind Sabrina, Theodore stands several feet behind her, his rifle aimed square at the back of her head.

            “Think I am scared of your grandpa.” Sabrina says.

            “You have no idea what he can do little girl.” Velvet says her rifle now aimed at Sabrina.

            “From this distance I could take you out in my sleep.” Theodore says.

            “Well it looks like you got me, what are you going to do?” Sabrina asks.  Shaken Fiona awake I raise to my feet, I stand a good height over Sabrina, our eyes meet.  Pausing but a moment I do what I must.

            “How does some warm breakfast sound?” I ask.

            Soon we are all sitting around the fire watching Sabrina eat everything in sight, clearly she is hungry. 

            “She is going to eat everything we got.” Velvet says.

            “It’s ok, besides you could stand to lose a few pounds.” Fiona says.

            “Did you just call me fat?” Velvet says.

            “Hey, talk it easy you two.” I say, “Besides Fiona is right.”

            “Great everyone thinks I am fat, you might want to stop eating now.” Velvet says in Sabrina’s direction, “They are only going to call you fat later.”

            “You are all a bunch of lunatics.” Sabrina says, everyone except her burst into laughter, she has no idea, “Are you really rebels?”

            “Yes.” I say, “We heard that there were people fighting the Brotherhood on the other side of the mountains.”  Sabrina looks us all over, her mind deep in thought and decision.  Taking several more bites of food she wipes her mouth clean with her sleeve.

            “I think I might be able to help you.” Sabrina says.

The End

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